RJ DEMELLO - Friday, September 26, 2014
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa look to bounce back from their defeat against Arsenal, while Jonathan Spector, Brek Shea, and Birmingham take on an American youngster at Fulham.
Aston Villa - Chelsea
The road for Villa doesn't get any easier this week, with Brad Guzan and company heading to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea.
Guzan will start once again between the sticks for The Claret and Blue.
Chelsea is in first place and undefeated so far on the year with 13 points from five games. Last time out in the league the Blues tied Manchester City 1-1.
Aston Villa was soundly beaten last week by a superb Arsenal side 3-0. The loss saw The Villans fall to third in the Premier League with 10 points from five matches.
Villa was hit by a virus before the Arsenal match and had to go without Darren Bent, Nathan Baker, and Ashley Westwood. All should be available for selection to the trip south to London.
Ramires is questionable for Chelsea, while Diego Costa should play despite ongoing hamstring issues.
Birmingham City - Fulham
Two teams off to rough starts in the Championship square off Saturday as Emerson Hyndman and Fulham head to St Andrews to take on Brek Shea and Birmingham City.
Jonathan Spector and Shea are in contention to start for Birmingham, while young Will Packwood has a shot at making the team.
Hyndman started during the week for Fulham in the clubs Capital One Cup tie, making it unlikely to see a start here from the young midfielder.
Fulham is in dead last in the Championship with just one point from eight games so far on the year. Last time out in the league the club fought to a 1-0 defeat against Blackburn Rovers.
Birmingham hasn't fared too much better in the league, with just one win to the club's name so far. The Blues currently sit just two points above the relegation zone in 20th place with seven points. Last week the team did well to earn a 2-2 draw against second place Norwich City.
Fulham will be without defender Shaun Hutchinson for the match as he serves out a suspension.
Eric Lichaj will likely get the start in defense for league leaders Nottingham Forest against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Tim Ream will be on the field from the start for Bolton Wanderers against Derby County.
Jozy Altidore did score a goal in Capital One Cup action Wednesday but will likely return to his spot on the bench for Sunderland's match against Swansea on Saturday.
Tim Howard, despite an overall shaky start to the season, will start for Everton against Liverpool at Anfield.
Geoff Cameron has reportedly returned to training but will most likely still miss Stoke's game against Newcastle on Monday.
Brad Friedel will likely not make the 18 for Tottenham against Arsenal as the keeper is behind Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm in the pecking order.
Zak Whitbread should start on the bench for Derby County as the team visits Bolton.
Danny Williams remains on the road to recover y from knee surgery and will miss Reading's match with Wolves on Sunday.